Archive | February, 2012

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Hartford Implements Snow Plan


HARTFORD — Mayor Pedro E. Segarra today authorized the implementation of the City’s Snow Emergency Plan in coordination with City Departments and several business entities, in an effort to ensure public safety.

In response to today’s snowstorm, which is expected to result in accumulations of up to five inches in the City, the Department of Public Works this morning began heavily treating those thoroughfares that experience the highest level of commuter traffic and major arterial streets that support business and commerce. While the accumulation is not expected to reach a level to warrant a parking ban, the City will be providing aggressive enforcement with regard to parking violations on arterial routes.

The City has also coordinated early release of workers with major corporations to stagger traffic leaving the City. Snow is expected to increase during the course of the afternoon, with as much as half-inch per 30 minutes. The City will release non-essential personnel of all City offices at 3 p.m. Essential City personnel, those employees required for public service, will be required to remain at work for their normal shifts. The City’s Emergency Operations Center will remain open.

Crafted last year by the Hartford Fire Department and the Office of Emergency Management, the Snow Emergency Plan was developed to reduce the threat to public safety due to snow and ice emergencies by prioritizing snow removal and parking enforcement activities.

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Malloy To Begin Ed Reform Meetings


HARTFORD — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will meet with residents at town hall meetings across the state until there’s a bill for “bold” education reform.

The first in a series of community forums will begin 8 p.m. at the Village South Center for Community Life at 333 Wethersfield Ave., Hartford.

Malloy’s reform agenda includes closing the widest academic achievement gap in the nation by implementing changes to teacher tenure and access to preschool education.

For other tour dates and other information about scheduled dates and towns for the Governor’s Education Reform Tour go to http://governor.ct.gov/educationtour.

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Amistad Center Kicks Off Silver Anniversary


 

HARTFORD — The Amistad Center for Art and Culture this year will commemorate its silver anniversary with an ecletic mix of new exhibitions and special events, organizers said.

The yearlong celebration will kick off on Feb. 27 with “At Taste of History” from 5: 30 p.m. o 8:30 p.m. at the Wadsworth Atheneum, featuring art music and food with “a soulful twist.”

Monday’s kickoff will be followed by other events slated for the year, including Juneteenth gala on June 16 and the Phenomenal Luncheon on Oct. 13.

For more information, visit www.AmistadandCulture.org or call 860-838-4133. The Amistad Center is located at Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of art, 600 Main Street, Hartford.

 

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For Chen and Lew, Linsanity Came Too Late


By George Koo, Contributor

On a recent Sunday morning, I was glued to the boob tube watching a professional basketball game from the opening jump ball to the last waning second. Haven’t done this for years, but suddenly I too have been swept up by the global phenomenon of linsanity.

By now, everybody knows linsanity refers to Jeremy Lin, the basketball star from Harvard who was passed up as a draft pick, later warming the bench for two other professional teams before coming off the bench for the NY Knicks in an act of desperation by the coach. Lin promptly led his team to a win, the first of nine in eleven games.

He became the toast of New York, and an instant worldwide sensation.

When the Knicks took on the Dallas Mavericks — last year’s NBA champ — I saw the real deal. Lin drove through a forest of opponents for layups or passed to wide-open teammates. He sank long-range three pointers in crucial moments or drew defenders, allowing his teammates to go unimpeded as they threw in three-point bombs. He was fearless and physical as the game dictated.

In the post game analysis, the great Magic Johnson unequivocally declared that Lin’s star presence would be in the NBA for a long time. None of his fellow panelists disagreed.

Lin’s heroics on the court immediately drew a following from members of Asian communities around the world, individuals heretofore thought too small, too short and too frail to compete in this high-contact sport. But they also call for reflection on the tragic fate of Danny Chen and Harry Lew, two American soldiers who recently took their own lives in Afghanistan.

Both Chen and Lew faced unrelated yet disturbingly brutal bouts of hazing by their fellow soldiers. Sadly the misery they experienced led both to the fateful decision that their young lives were no longer worth living.

These incidents – the awe surrounding Lin’s rise and the deaths of Chen and Lew — reflect a failure of American values: The former because America continues to regard people of Asian ancestry as not American; the latter because the military not only failed to prevent such racism in their ranks but also to impose an appropriate penalty on those behind the hate crimes.

Make no mistake. That is what they were. Yet when perpetrated against African Americans, for example, they evoke high decibel outcries. Not so when the victim is Asian American.

It will be up to the Asian American community to make noise in order to rectify these wrongs. During the first Gulf War, friendly missiles shot down two American helicopters. The pilots who pulled the trigger were exonerated but not Captain Jim Wang of the Awac flying surveillance.

The late Sam Chu Lin, a mainstream media star who became a voice of conscience, rallied the Chinese American community and with the help of the Committee of 100 made sure that Captain Wang had proper defense counsel leading to dismissal of all charges against him.

Wen Ho Lee was the designated scapegoat and sacrificial lamb in the political struggle between a Republican-led Congress and Democratic President Bill Clinton. Lee would have rotted in jail as a spy for China had the Asian American community not come to his support. Sam played an active role in this case as well.

In Lee’s case, the American public took no pains to make the distinction as to whether the Taiwan-native was Chinese or not. To this day, some still consider him a spy though the court cleared him of all espionage charges. Those that still accuse Lee of spying have also forgotten that the court did find that the FBI was lying under oath.

Maybe Jeremy Lin with his continued success will erase some of the prejudices that reside in America against Asians. Perhaps linsanity, had it occurred a couple of years earlier, might have blunted some of the bias that led American soldiers to regard ethnic Asians in their ranks as more gook and less fellow soldiers.

But we can’t count on Jeremy Lin to carry the entire load for racial equality on his shoulders, broad as they may be. We, the Asian American community, must stand up and demand our rights as full fledged, tax paying, law abiding citizens to all the respect pertaining thereto.

It won’t happen sitting on the bench.

Dr. George Koo is a contributor and board member of New America Media.

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Author Earl Lovelace to Give Book Talk at Trinity


HARTFORD — Famed Caribbean novelist Earl Lovelace will give a book talk at the Trinity College Writing Series on March 12.

The talk on his new book is a part of the annual A.K. Smith Reading Series in the Terrace Room B in Mather Hall at Trinity College, 300 Summit St., Hartford/

Lovelace was born in Toco, Trinidad, and has spent most of his life on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago.  He has been a journalist, Writer-in-Residence at the University of the West Indies and at universities in the United States and Britain, and has given lectures, readings and participated in conferences internationally.

His books have been translated into German, Dutch, French, and Hungarian, and his short stories have been widely anthologized. His books include While Gods Are Falling, winner of the BP Independence Award, the Caribbean classic, The Dragon Can’t Dance,The Wine of Astonishment, and Salt, which won the 1997 Commonwealth Writers Prize.
Is Just a Movie:
“Here [Earl Lovelace] is at his soaring rhapsodic best. Starring two hapless almost-been’s in search of movie fame, Is Just A Movie takes us on wild loving absurdist journey to the heart of contemporary Trinidad, a Trinidad so ravishingly alive that the Naipuls of the world could never have imagined it or possessed the soul to write about it.”

Upcoming:

3/12 ~ 7 p.m.                      Earl Lovelace (fiction)

*3/28  ~ 5:30 p.m.            Steve Foley (2012 Hugh Ogden Poet Event): http://bit.ly/nl8D75 

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Howard Professor To Keynote Program


NEW BRITAIN —  Howard University Professor Abdul Karim Bangura will be the keynote speaker at Central Connecticut State University’s Center for Africana Studies’ Black History Month lecture on Feb. 28.

As part of its recognition of African American History Month, Central will present its ninth annual AMISTAD Distinguished Lecture Series in Founders Hall, located in Davidson Hall, from 3 p.m. – 4:20 p.m.

Bangura is a professor of Research Methodology and Public Policy at Howard University, will talk about “The Life and Times of the Amistad Returnees to Sierra Leone and Their Impact: A Pluridisciplinary Exploration.”

Bangura is also a researcher-in-residence on Abrahamic Connections and Islamic Peace Studies at the Center for Global Peace at American University in Washington, DC. He holds doctorates in political science, development economics, linguistics, computer science, and mathematics.

He is a former president of the Association of Third World Studies at the United Nations and for a time served as that organization’s ambassador to the U.N.  Over the years, he has written 65 books and over 550 scholarly articles.

Along with being fluent in 12 African and six European languages, Dr. Bangura has earned many awards for his teaching, scholarly works and community service.

The lecture is sponsored by CCSU’s Center for Africana Studies For more information, please contact Dr. Olusegun Sogunro at 860-832-2131 or Dr. Gloria Emeagwali at 860- 832-2815.

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YMCA Receives $50,000 Grant


HARTFORD — The YMCA of Greater Hartford announced on Tuesday that it has received a $50,000 grant from First Niagara Bank  in support of the YMCA Teen Incentive Program, which provides at-risk teens with the tools and encouragement needed to achieve academic excellence and work readiness.

In Hartford, Conn. and Springfield, Mass., where the program is implemented, approximately 80 percent those cities’ high school students live in poverty, and half of all Black and Latino students never graduate.

Together, the YMCA’s of Greater Hartford and Greater Springfield are taking a regional approach to overcoming the obstacles young people face on the path to success, YMCA officials said.

First Niagara has also pledged $50,000 to the YMCA of Greater Springfield to support its programming for at-risk teens.

“Through First Niagara’s support, the YMCA is able to help at-risk youth in our region become tomorrow’s workforce and community leaders,” said James Morton, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Hartford.

 

 

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CRT Welcomes New Head Start Director, Holds Event


HARTFORD — Community Renewal Team recently appointed Emilie Montgomery as the Early Care and Education Director.

Montgomery began her job Jan. 28. A welcoming event for Montgomery is scheduled for March 6 from 3-5 p.m. at CRT’s main office at 555 Windsor St. in Hartford in the Lumsden Center. The event is open to the public.

Montgomery most recently served as the Director of Quality Assurance for the East Coast Migrant Head Start Project since 2001. She has held top positions some of the largest migrant Head Start grantees in the U.S. including the Texas Migrant Council, Washington State Migrant Council, and United Migrant Opportunity Services in the past 20 years.

CRT’s ECE programs that include Head Start and School Readiness programs help lay the foundation for more than 1,400 children each year to lead healthy and productive lives, administrators said.

CRT provides ECE programs including Head Start in the six area towns of Hartford, Windsor, Bloomfield, Portland, Clinton, Middletown as well as delegates in East Hartford and Bristol.

All interested parties for the reception may RSVP Mary O’Connell at 860-560-5456 or by email at oconnellm@crtct.org.

 

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Homicide Suspect Surrenders To Hartford Police


HARTFORD —  The February 10 suspect in a homicide case surrendered on Tuesday to Hartford Police Headquarters on Tuesday,  according to Hartford Police Chief James C. Rovella.

The suspect,  Traistyn George, 20,  of unknown address in Hartford was wanted by Hartford Police in connection with a homicide  at 366 Maple Ave.

Police said they have been searching for George since Major Crimes Division Detectives obtained an arrest warrant for him on Feb. 15, charging him with murder and carrying a dangerous Weapon.

A judge set bond of $1 million police said.    George is awaiting arraignment in Hartford Superior Court, police said.

On Feb. 10 at 11:44 p.m., officers responded to 366 Maple Ave on a report of abouttwenty people fighting in the street.  Two individuals were located suffering from stab wounds.  The victim, Kevin Rodriguez, 21, of Hartford, was found in the driveway.

HPD officers performed CPR and he was transported to Hartford Hospital by ambulance where he was pronounced dead.  A second victim was admitted to and treated for stab wounds at Hartford Hospital.

He is recovering from his injuries, police said.

See related press release of February 15, 2012.

As the investigation remains on-going, Hartford Police continue to ask  anyone with information about this incident to contact HPD Major Crimes Division Sergeant Brandon O’Brien at (860) 757-4089. Information can be given anonymously by contacting Crime Stoppers Tipline at 860-722-TIPS (8477).

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The Promise and Pitfalls of Being the ‘inevitable’ Nominee


By Mark Pazniokas

HARTFORD — The word never will pass Chris Murphy’s lips, at least not in public. But the congressman is doing everything he can to create the impression that his winning the Democratic nomination for Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman’s seat is, well, inevitable.

He is steadily rolling out endorsements, and his campaign bank account dwarfs those of his two best-known Democratic rivals, former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz and state Rep. William Tong.

Murphy’s cash on hand grew by $457,305 to about $2.5 million in his most recent filing on Jan. 31, nearly 10 times the $46,252 net gain reported by Bysiewicz, who has $889,805 in her account.

 

WFP endorsement
Murphy accepting the Working Families Party endorsement.

 

Tong is spending more than he is taking in. After raising an impressive $565,572 in his first weeks as a candidate, his cash on hand shrunk from $527,011 in July to $362,844 in October to $279,445 in January.

“Right now, it seems inevitable that Murphy is going to be the candidate,” said John F. Droney Jr., a former Democratic state chairman, one of the Democrats lining up behind the 38-year-old three-term congressman.

Perhaps.

Inevitability has had a couple of bad election cycles.

Hillary Clinton’s nomination was inevitable until Barack Obama won the Iowa caucuses in 2008. Inevitability was Mitt Romney’s friend this year, until it started mocking him.

A headline in the Huffington Post on Jan. 17: “Mitt Romney’s nomination looks inevitable.” Five days later, Huff Po proclaimed, “Mitt Romney no longer inevitable.” This week, the site called him both “inevitable and unelectable.”

“The last thing you want is what Romney’s going through,” said a prominent Republican operative, who did not want to be quoted by name because of his association with a GOP candidate.

Without the caucuses, primaries and debates that give the GOP presidential race the back-and-forth of ping-pong, the dynamic of a Senate race is more deliberate, less volatile. A new phase begins Thursday, with the first of a series of campaign forums featuring all three Democrats.

Inevitability is fueled by quarterly financial reports, limited public polling and the careful doling out of endorsements, a game played by Murphy and Linda McMahon, the 2010 Republican nominee trying again in 2012. Former Rep. Chris Shays, R-4th District, is also seeking the Republican nomination.

McMahon’s campaign announced four rounds of endorsements in the past two weeks, the most recent from five Republican State Central Committee members Wednesday.

Not long after beginning his campaign, Murphy was endorsed by Connecticut’s other four members of the U.S. House delegation. A few days later, he was endorsed by Attorney General George Jepsen, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and Comptroller Kevin Lembo.

In December, Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, seemed to signal national Democratic donors that Murphy was the anointed one.

“When we go out and talk to people in states, we look at who is the strongest candidate, who can win, who has the kind of support,” Murray said. “And in that state, Chris Murphy is a just a great candidate, and I expect him to win.”

Shays and McMahon are Murphy’s allies, in an odd way, in their treatment of him as the inevitable nominee. The two Republicans have largely ignored Tong and Bysiewicz, focusing their jabs at Murphy.

“I think the only brand we’re looking for is a grass-roots campaign that is designed to win,” said Ken Curran, Murphy’s campaign manager. “That’s what Chris did in his past elections, and that’s what he’s doing now.”

Curran said Murphy has no choice but to focus on McMahon now, even as he competes with Bysiewicz and Tong for the nomination. Given her independent wealth — McMahon spent $50 million of her own money on her campaign in 2010 — Murphy has to shape his general election message.

It doesn’t hurt, of course, that it also adds to the sense he is the inevitable nominee.

“It helps him, if he can build the case. It helps him raise money and get endorsements and support,” former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, R-2nd District, said of Murphy. “At this stage in the game, I don’t see anybody else in the race who is presenting a reasonable alternative to Chris Murphy.”

Simmons knows firsthand the challenge of facing a candidate deemed inevitable. He was the front-runner for the GOP nomination in 2010, but McMahon’s money eventually made her seem unbeatable in a Republican primary.

Shays acknowledges that one of his challenges is to overcome the air of inevitability that some GOP activists see around McMahon’s nomination.

His refrain when seeking support is to convince Republicans that he is intent on a primary.

“The primary is on Tuesday, Aug. 14, and there will be a primary,” Shays said. “Whoever wins the convention, there will be a primary. The decision is not going to be made by party officials.”

George Gallo, strategist for the state House Republican caucus, campaign consultant and former GOP state chairman, said every candidate tries to establish “an air of inevitability, the air of confidence, the air of we are on the winning team.”

It can carry a risk.

“The negative side is it’s usually at the expense of the grass roots,” Gallo said. “You run the risk of being the establishment candidate. And being the establishment candidate in this day and age is not the good housekeeping seal of approval.”

And that is exactly the card the Bysiewicz campaign is playing.

“I definitely think he is setting himself up as the establishment figure,” Jonathan Ducote, her campaign manager, said of Murphy.

“Inevitability? Maybe, but it’s not something a lot of these Democratic Town Committees are pushing back on,” said Marc Bradley, the campaign manager for Tong. “Every time we go to these town committees, people are tired of the Wasington deal. This is a guy who has been down there for six years and hasn’t passed a bill.”

But Gallo said Murphy, who has a reputation as a grass-roots organizer, seems somewhat inoculated against the establishment rap, even though he has held elective office since he was 27, winning two terms in the state House, two in the state Senate and three in Congress.

“Murphy, he came up by being a grass-roots guy,” Gallo said. “He in many respects created two stories, two personal campaign stories, the insider and the hardworking grass-roots guy. Essentially, you’ve got two mints in one, and you hope voters buy both.”

Droney said Murphy seems well aware of the pitfalls of being seen as the inevitable nominee.

“You’ve got be inevitable without being obvious, inevitable without being arrogant, inevitable without being lazy, inevitable without being uninterested in other points of view,” Droney said. “There’s a whole list of dos and don’ts if you are going to play the inevitable card.”

Bysiewicz is clinging to her singular status in Connecticut politics: She is the only convention runner-up to win a statewide primary and then go on to be elected. In 1998, she lost the nomination for secretary of the state at the convention, then won a primary and the general election.

Curran said if others see Murphy as inevitable, it is a compliment: “If people are drawn to us as the strongest Democratic candidate, then we’re doing our job right.”

With Lieberman not seeking re-election, Bradley said, “The only thing that is inevitable in this race is that the people of Connecticut are going to have a new U.S. senator in November.”

This story originally appeared at www.CTMirror.org.

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